Delta To Install the Cozy Suite in Coach on International Fleet

I saw a discussion about Delta installing a radically different type of seat in coach and I immediately assumed it was an April Fool’s joke. But after rooting around a bit and seeing confirmation of the news from FlightGlobal, I think it’s real.

Apparently, Delta will be installing the Cozy Suite by Thompson Solutions on its internationally-configured 767 and 777 aircraft starting in 2010. What the heck is a cozy suite? Let’s start with a couple images off the Thompson site.
08_04_02 cozysuite
Pretty different, huh? As you can see the seats are staggered so you have your own little personal space. If you want to be next to someone for a conversation, it may not be ideal, or on the off chance the flight is empty enough for you to have your own row, well you can’t stretch out, but there are plenty of benefits. First, you get your own armrests. At least, it looks like the shared armrest is long enough so that one person is up front and the other in the back. Second, the seats recline in their own space, so it won’t bother the person behind you.

Most importantly, you have a nice place to rest your body on a long flight. I have trouble sleeping on planes in general, but this will still be more comfortable as a relaxing position. It’s also rumored that the song “Hold Me Now” will be pumped repeatedly through the seats’ headrests to help passengers pass out. (Get it? Thompson Solutions . . . Thompson Twins . . . “Hold Me Now.” Ah, nevermind. You guys are lame.)

For Delta, there’s speculation that this will allow them to add more seats to the plane. Thompson says that a 767 will have 8 seats across instead of 7, and that would allow for a lot more seats onboard, but I have to assume that they’ll lose at least a couple of rows by having these staggered seats that trail backwards. So there may be a net gain, but it’s probably not as big as some may say.

I have to say, this is a fantastic move by Delta . . . if it works. An unproven seat is always a gamble, but then again so are most innovations. If they can meet all the FAA requirements with this seat, it should give them a big advantage on long international flights in coach. I haven’t been in the seat, but if it’s as comfortable as it would appear to be, I would most certainly pay a premium for it on one of those long hauls.

Whether the premium will end up justifying the expense for Delta is another question. You do, however, have to take risks if you want to be a market leader, and this is a risky but honestly pretty exciting move. Nice work, Delta. Let’s hope it works. I’m just sorry we have to wait until 2010 to see it.

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